DIFF 2019: Day 5

The Disappearance of My Mother is a rather unusual documentary that takes an unorthodox approach to storytelling by having the filmmaker film his own famous mother even against her wishes so that he can create something of artistic value as she ages. The documentary explores the personal and professional life of Benedetta Barzini who was one of the top supermodels of the 1960s and inspired many photographers, including Andy Warhol, and eventually became a feminist activist questioning the merits of fashion. In addition to archival footage and photographs of her modeling career, the film is mostly comprised of contemporary casual interviewing and filmed slices of her daily life, all from the unique perspective of her son the filmmaker who is often confronted by her to stop filming because she wants to disappear from the public eye. It is a very unique documentary that discusses a wide range of issues as well as simply revealing the mother-son relationship that can be complicated at times.

Ode to Joy is a charming romantic comedy based on the true life experiences of a man who suffers from a unusual form of narcolepsy in which he passes out when he experiences powerful emotions, especially joy. Played by the British actor Martin Freeman, Charlie leads a quiet and simple life as a Brooklyn librarian who wants a personal and perhaps romantic relationship with somebody but is afraid to due to his rare health condition. He eventually cautiously falls in love with a beautiful and smart woman and shares his experiences, in an increasingly intimate fashion, with his brother who serves as a form of comic relief for the film. I found it to be an entertaining film with a fascinating storyline that really brings out the humor from the gifted cast and puts a creative twist on the generic romantic comedy.

The Tomorrow Man is a first-rate romantic drama that explores falling in love and intimacy in a much older demographic and is anchored by brilliant performances from the incomparable John Lithgow and Blythe Danner. The movie follows John Lithgow’s character who is a paranoid prepper always getting ready for the end of civilization and unexpectedly begins to fall for a similarly peculiar person played by Blythe Danner. Set in a small town somewhere in America, the two odd birds begin a fairly rapid romantic relationship in which they mostly look past each other’s flaws out of love for one another; the filmmaker emphasizes that exciting teenage-like love can happen to anyone even at a much later stage in life. I found it to be a very tender movie that has its moments of laughter and drama reflecting a typical love story, albeit a strange one in which both characters exhibit eccentricities that do not usually appear in romantic films.

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